Rewards for stolen goods are not particularly unusual -- except when they exceed the value of the stolen property itself.
But that is what James Richard Gernhart Jr. of the Essex area is offering.
On Thursday, someone broke into his house on Turkey Point Road and stole his loaded .357-caliber Magnum handgun, purchased last year for just over $800.
To encourage its recovery, Mr. Gernhart has offered a $1,000 reward with no questions asked.
"The main thing I'm concerned about is keeping the gun off the street," Mr. Gernhart said. "It was taken illegally, but I don't want it to be used for anything illegal."
The 6-inch-long, wooden-handled Colt Python was taken from a night stand drawer by someone who kicked in the rear door of Mr. Gernhart's house while he was working in Baltimore.
Mr. Gernhart, an avid hunter, said he purchased the weapon as "house protection."
He meant to be more cautious about storing it, Mr. Gernhart said, but has been busy refurbishing his house.
"It's no one's fault but my own," Mr. Gernhart said. "When I decided to get the gun, I said I was going to keep it out of reach of people."